Too Close For Comfort
Bona|November 2019
If you often use the words annoying and irritating when referring to someone, chances are that person is clingy and needy. Can that relationship be saved?
Lindiwe Mciteka

“I bumped into an old acquintance from high school while shopping one day. We exchanged numbers, and had our first social hangout that weekend. Since then, she’s been blowing up my phone and liking and commenting on every picture that I post on social media. She’s constantly suggesting that we hang out or passes by my house and office. It’s all a bit much because we were never close friends to begin with,” says Linda*. People with an excessive desire to be accepted or a fear of rejection can be classified as clingy or emotionally needy, says Dr Lungile Lechesa, a clinical psychologist from Johannesburg. “Clingy people have insecurities of being rejected or abandoned, and struggle to be alone. They seek validation that can be masked as attention-seeking, and have a hard time making friends because they tend to cling to one or two people,” she adds. Zanele* feels that her ex had a similar fear of rejection during their three-year relationship. “We met at the gym, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer until I agreed to go out with him,” she recalls. At first she was flattered by his desire to spend all his time with her, but he soon became controlling and wanted to know her every move. “He got really upset when I didn’t answer my phone right away, and would wait outside my office. The last straw was when he accused me of cheating. So, I broke up with him. Our time together was draining and exhausting, and has changed my approach to relationships. I’m now very wary and intolerant of anything that reminds me of the way my ex behaved.”

AN OBSESSION

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